Wednesday, September 3, 2014

My Miniature Quilt Shop in Homespun Magazine

I received an email from Emma at Homespun magazine earlier this year asking if a pic of my dollhouse quilts, could be shown in an upcoming edition of Homespun magazine article on miniatures. I said yes please, & mentioned I also had a miniature quilt shop. Emma was interested in seeing pics of it so I sent a few through & Emma asked if they could be used too. I took this opportunity to add some more things to the shop before taking more pics for the article. Here it is in the September 2014 issue. I thought it would be a good time to blog my little shop for my regulars to see, & if anyone has come via Homespun, Hi & Welcome.

I built this mini quilt shop many years ago. It was a kit that I bought at an annual miniature & dollhouse show in Sydney. I built the little classroom to match, & added the side door to join the rooms. The shop is 1/12th scale, meaning 1 " = 12" which is a standard measure for most miniatures.
The quilt shop.
 I made the two quilts, the one behind the counter is hand pieced & hand quilted. The blocks are 1/2" square. The house quilt is made of pre-printed house fabric. I bought the beautiful braid rug, it is hand made.

The bolts of fabric are just fabric wrapped & glued around a piece of cardboard
The knitting corner.
Quilt shop from above.
The classroom.
I filled the stand with lots of mini magazines & mini fat 1/16ths.
I made the noticeboard & painted the scene on the stand.
The table in the corner holds a teapot & teaset,
because a classroom without a cuppa is no fun!
   The design board is a piece of felt glued to cardboard.
The class room from above.

Monday, September 1, 2014

Creative Challenge Reveal!

I signed up for a craft challenge a few weeks ago. The idea was that Clare would send me a random picture, & a colour. & I would use these to create 'something.'
Here is the challenge blog post:

Clare emailed me these pics to base my project on:
I'll be the first to admit that my creative juices have pretty much dried up of late. I've been running on auto-pilot for quite a while now & it's hard to get my brain to focus. 

First I thought about making a small quilt, but I knew it would just get shoved in a cupboard with all the other small quilts I've made. I  love working with felt & haven't done so for a while, so that seemed very appealing. I do have a bit of pincushion obsession, & I tend to have them out on display so I can enjoy them, so I figured this would be a good way to go.

It's very simple as you can see, but it ended up taking a few days on & off as I tweaked it, & unpicked a bit here & there to change it. I enjoyed just pottering with it, & as I'm not up to much else at the moment I didn't feel guilty just faffing about with it. I also enjoyed the change from crocheting which I've been doing for the past 5 weeks. It's hard to tell the size by the pics the base has a 4" diameter.

My initial 6 week recuperation stage is nearly over so I'll be able to start doing more which will be good. No heavy lifting till next year, but I'm not sorry about that! :-)

Pop over to Clare's blog to see what other people did with their challenge.

Thanks Clare for a fun challenge!

Friday, August 29, 2014

 Well the Dr Who outfit was a success, mind you I was sewing the buttons on the vest as Rowan was waiting to leave. Typical me! I kept procrastinating when it came to the buttonholes. I finally dug out the machine manual, followed the instructions, & they were fine. I haven’t done buttonholes for donkey’s years & have bad memories of a lot of unpicking. I should have just trusted my lovely machine.

The hardest part of the whole thing was getting the pattern right for the vest. I bought a pattern, & luckily traced it onto lightweight interfacing because a. I like to keep the paper patterns intact & b. it gives me a chance to check out the size. Thank goodness I did this, & thank goodness Rowan was home that day, because the pattern just didn’t fit. Too long & too small around the hips. Once I had the pattern right, the vest was easy peasy.

I knew if I tried to knit the scarf I would do nothing else, & my arms/wrists would protest loudly, so I decided to make it out of polar fleece. It took quite a few hours but I’m really pleased with it & Rowan loved it.
I laid it out on the kitchen island.
  Rowan wore the outfit to the cinema to see the new Dr. He said it was great.

Fortuitously a post popped up on Facebook with a link to cleaning your sewing machine. I knew I would need to clean my machine after sewing the polar fleece so this reminded me to do it I opened it all up to find this: Ewww! I cleared out all the fluff & oiled it & it looks, & sounds, a lot better now.
I have finally started on de-cluttering my life. I came across a 10 a day plan that really seems doable. The truth is I have 1000’s of things to get rid of, & because it’s all seemed so overwhelming, I keep pushing it to the back of my mind. But all this excess stuff is dragging me down, so when I read about getting rid of 10 things a day it sounded well within my comfort zone. I started on the garage on Friday, well I sat on a chair in some very rare Melbourne sunshine & directed. We filled 2 bins & a trailer with rubbish. Why did we keep all those boxes? Sorted out several bags & boxes of things to go to the charity shop, & sorted stuff to price up for my vintage stalls. We only dealt with about 10% of the garage but it was a start, & we could actually see a bit of floor. I’d really love to reach a point where I could put my car in the garage! Saturday Emma came to visit & took some large sets of shelves I no longer need, & I gave her a few things of hers that had been left behind when she left home 12 years ago. So an easy 10 things.
I’m still working on my crochet blanket & have made some progress. I've actually done more since I took this shot but it's too dark now to take a current pic. Mind you, I’ve now mislaid my crochet hook, hard to understand when it stays next to me on the lounge, but I’m not quite up to crawling around on the floor looking for it yet. Meanwhile, I have started sketching up some ideas for the craft challenge I signed up for so I will get started on that. I have a few ideas, but all I know for sure is that it will involve lovely felt. I have a week so I should start today rather than waiting till the last minute……..

Update, I've made my challenge project, with days to spare, & will upload a pic on Monday. Oh & I found my crochet hook, it had slipped down into one of the large balls of wool, lol.
Rowan spotted this beautiful rosella in the front yard yesterday & grabbed my camera.

Friday, August 8, 2014


Well I've started on the gypsy blanket & it's looking quite pretty. The blocks are smaller than I'd imagined, which is a good thing because they are quick to make, & I feel like I'm making progress. 

I finished the first 9 squares & laid them out, I then decided to join them, like a patchwork 9 patch, I'll continue doing this & then join the blocks. I'm choosing either warm or cool colours for each square & will sew them up alternately warm/cool.

I definitely need to get some orange wool, although it looks like there is orange in the pic there are 2 reds & a pumpkin. I want a bright orange. I also need a lot more of the grey wool!

Rowan needs a Dr Who #4 costume. First up I knew I'd need to make the scarf. There isn't time to knit one, it's 12' long, lol, so I'm going to make it out of polar fleece. I went to Spotlight & sourced some of the colours, but they had a very limited range of plains. I'll check out Lincraft tomorrow, hopefully they'll have the others I need. The challenge will be to find a hat!

I also bought the fabric & pattern to make the vest/waistcoat. I haven't done any dressmaking for years & I'm looking forward to it. I've bought a few patterns lately, mostly vintage style dresses, & I'd like to make some clothes again. I was making my own dresses when I was 12, mum was a keen sewer & taught me. These days her eyesight is poor, but she still makes bags when the mood takes her.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Recipe for Recuperating

I'd hoped to blog regularly again after my last post but life got in the way. I'm now officially recuperating for the next month or 2 so hopefully will have more time to get back in the swing of it.

I'm currently sitting quite comfortably on my lounge, watching the Commonwealth Games, as I recover from the total hysterectomy I had last Tuesday morning. Definitely not something I had on my bucket list, but such is life. I'm not going to bore you with a blow by blow of the whole saga, yes there was stitching involved, but not of the craft variety lol. My pathology all came back clear, this was more a preventative exercise rather than a treatment, so now I just heal & it's behind me. If you would like to ask anything I'm happy to answer. I can report a positive experience, so if you're waiting on the same op, don't panic it's all ok! I feel so good it's hard to remember that I can't lift anything or overdo it.

So I now have a 6 week 'holiday' from any housework & I can craft to my heart's content. I joined a facebook hysterectomy group & so many of the women are going stir crazy as they rest, I'm looking forward to all the craft time I now have.

I have a couple of projects in mind, this gorgeous crochet blanket from Alice:

I've gathered the wools but haven't started yet. 

Note the raggy basket handle, Molly's toothwork, lol.

I'm also still making hexies out of vintage bedsheets, I scour the op shops & vintage shops looking for more sheets or pieces thereof. 'One day' this will be a quilt for my bed. Note: I only cut up damaged sheets, the ones in good condition I use, they are lovely soft cotton & so pretty. 

I also have a stitchery on the go that I started last year. It was a pattern in Mollie Makes.

I also just signed up for this challenge, so I'm looking forward to putting my brain in gear for something new. I hope some of my blog friends join in too, let me know if you do. :-)

I'd also like to take the opportunity to get all my photos sorted. I took them all out of their albums before we moved to Melbourne 4 years ago, as the albums were damaging them, & I haven't done anything since. I really should scan them all. I'm not into scrapbooking so it's all about getting them in order & labelling them.

It's so nice to be blogging again. Please say 'hi' if you have a chance so I know I'm not talking to myself. :-D

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

I'm back, with a little catch up!

It's been so long since I blogged, & it seemed the longer I left it, the harder it seemed to get back into it. Do I try to catch up all the months or do I just mention a few things? Silly really, 'Nobody cares mum,' said Rowan, & he's right. I started a blog as a diary to push me along to finish things. I wanted to be able to simply scroll down a page & see things I had done to know I was achieving something! 

Not a lot has been achieved lately, life is a day at a time experience at the moment. I know I mentioned a while back that dh & I had separated, well we spent a lot of time in counselling last year & deep down I was sure that we would sort things out. Wrong! He decided at the beginning of this year that it was all too hard, not worth the effort, so I only see or hear from him if he wants something, not often. Life is less stressful without the arguments & I have a lot less headaches which is really great! But it's hard adjusting to a life you didn't envisage. When you've been married for 34 years it's impossible not to have a picture in your head of how life will go, & now that's all changed. I like the freedom it's brought, I don't have to ask permission to do anything, I finally get to be an adult. Oh it would be nice to have someone to talk over the big stuff with, or even the small stuff, but that was never his forte so......... anyway enough of that. What have I been doing?

Well I have been working around the house, trying to finish off a lot of half done diy projects. My old sewing room is now a lovely big family room. The old study is a guest bedroom & the new walk-in pantry is brilliant. My new sewing room is working really well for me, I will take some pics of it soon. 

Last month was wonderful as ds Simon came over from Canada for a visit, just a week, but it gave us a chance to catch up. I actually had my 3 kids together for a just a day, which means the world to me.

Well my little foray into the vintage world has been ticking along, though a little neglected. By chance I saw that a stall was coming up at The Vintage Emporium, Tyabb, one of my fave vintage haunts, so I applied & was offered the spot. YAY! I have so much stuff to sell & I do love playing shops, ie. setting up & sourcing stock, without having to be there everyday to do the selling. Luckily Emma has a big work van so she drove it down last Sunday & we loaded up all my goodies & drove down to set up my new space. We had to dodge some heavy downpours but we were pretty lucky. Emma has decided to go halves with the stall, which is just brilliant. She has a great eye for vintage & decorating so I know her flair will be a real advantage. If you like you can follow my Carry On Vintage Facebook page. I don't post often so you won't be inundated with posts. :-)

I haven't been reading much lately, I've been playing silly games on my iPad instead. I will dig out the books I have read & do a blog on them soon.

Well a bit of a catch up, now I just need to blog regularly again. Well done if you got this far. :-D 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Yes or No?

I've made this table topper for my mum for her 84th birthday this Sunday. She has a round table & I thought it would look pretty when she doesn't have a tablecloth on. Trouble is, although I like it, nobody else seems to, ds did say he liked the design, but not the fabrics, so not all bad, lol. As my closest friend is about 1000kms away I don't actually have a friend to show it to, so I really need your opinion.

 I have birthed it, rather than binding it, because I couldn't find a fabric that matched to use for the binding. I quilted it more than this, but it didn't sit well, there was puckering, so I undid most of the quilting. The flowers are all 30's fabrics, the green around each flower is actually a tiny white spot, not a solid.

So hit or miss?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

My 'Carry On Vintage' Stall

I finally made it out to check on my little stall yesterday & to take a few things out to add to my stock. I've been laid low by a virus for nearly a month so it was really nice to finally be able to see how things were going. I was pleased to see I've sold a few bits & bobs. I made 6 pincushions & took these 3 out to sell.

Things are looking great at Tyabb Vintage Garage, there are some new stalls & lots of great stock. I'm trying very hard not to buy any more stuff, & to actually sell some, but I was tempted by a gorgeous little kitchen dresser. I'm not sure where I'll put it yet, but I'll find the right place.

If you're in the area do pop in for a browse.
It's open 10am - 5pm 6 days a week. Closed Tuesdays.

Tyabb Vintage Garage
1546 Flinders Frankston Road
Tyabb 3913

Facebook pages: 

My page for Carry On Vintage:

Tyabb Vintage Garage:

August Books

Two books this month. I recently watched the old Joanne Woodward movie, 'The Three Faces of Eve' & it reminded me of Sybil, a book I first read in the 70's. I still had the copy so I reread it. It was still as incredible as ever, 1 lady with 17 different personalities. The book covers her psychoanalysis over many years. It is certainly easy to see how her condition developed when you read of her upbringing, & sadistic mother, & aloof father. I Googled Sybil to see if there was any info on her since the book was written & I found an article claiming that the whole thing was a hoax simply made to make money. I don't know if that's true or not, but I felt the claimant, who has since written a book herself about the whole thing, may well just be the hoaxer cashing in on someone else's story. The fact that Sybil, her psychoanalyst & the book's author, have all since passed away means there is no one left to confirm or deny this person's claims.

To be honest I needed something light after Sybil as it is a very dark book so I reread 'Watermelon.' I LOVE this book, it's the first Marion Keyes book I ever read, it is her first book & it introduced me to the Walsh Family. Marion has written several books about the Walsh family, each time focussing on another of the sisters, & their lives, & I've loved them all. This is a very funny book, a real laugh out loud book. It's actually starts out a sad story, & you may shed a few tears as the main character's husband walks out on her the day she gives birth to their first baby, but the way she deals with this, & how it all pans out is very entertaining & not depressing. I just love Marion Keyes, she is an Irish author, I seem to have a weakness for Irish authors, & all her books are fun & funny.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Vote For Me, please!

I've entered a contest with the magazine Cloth, Paper, Scissors to win units for my sewing room. 

I'm currently preparing Rowan's old bedroom to be my new sewing room so they would be brilliant! 

Please check out the competition & vote for me if you would like to. The link is at the top right of the page.


PS You can vote daily. :-)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

My Latest Venture

I mentioned in my last post I had a couple of projects on the go & this is one of them.

I've had my name down for a stall at a local vintage business for 18 months, as it wasn't going to happen anytime soon when a new place opened a few weeks ago, I made some enquiries, & booked myself a tiny space, just big enough to fit a set of shelves. Normally I'd throw myself in the deep end & take on a massive project, but this time I decided to take it slowly, hence the small space. I've been buying loads of vintage stuff for years & I really have way too much stuff to use so the opportunity to on-sell some of my goodies came at a good time. I also desperately need to downsize my craft supplies, so hopefully this will be a good place to do it.

The biggest problem was finding just the right name. I've been mulling it over for weeks & although I had a long list, & liked quite a few of them, I knew I hadn't found the right one. Then last Thursday I walked into the kitchen & read the sign over the mantle 'Keep Calm & Carry On.' Then it hit me 'Carry On Vintage.' I'm a big fan of the Carry On films, especially the early ones made in the 50's & 60's, so as Pop Larkin would say, 'perfick.'

So name chosen, boxes of stuff everywhere to be sorted, time to get moving! To be honest I've been lacking motivation to do anything  much lately, so this seemed like the right way to give myself the kick in the bum I needed!

Being OCD I had to be totally organised. I put the shelves together, my dd Emma helped me paint the timber shelves, I covered the metal shelf supports with fabric to soften the look, chose the stock & set it all up. I washed everything that was washable, catalogued it & priced it. 

Come set up day I had everything packed up by shelf, so I was totally organised & was able to set up the stall in record time, & here it is!

I need to make a much bigger sign but I was against the clock.
I made the bunting out of remnants of vintage sheets.

I painted the shelves different colours & set them up with different themes.

Bedroom shelf.

Kitchen shelf.

I plan on making things out of vintage fabrics to add to the stock.

The stall is at Tyabb Vintage Garage 1546 Flinders Frankston Rd, Tyabb, VIC 3913
It is currently open 6 days a week (closed Tuesday) from 10am - 5pm.

I have set up a facebook page @
Please pop over & like me. :-)

Yay a tick off my bucket list!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Book Catch-Up

I can't believe I haven't blogged since January! I kept putting it off thinking I'd get Live Writer installed again but it just won't work so I'll use the blog post system or I'll never blog again!!!

I'll start out by updating my reading list.

 The last book I blogged was a biography on the Queen Mum, it was excellent, & as I was still wanting more royal family, I then read Magnificent Obsession by Helen Rappaport. This is a biography of Queen Victoria & I loved it. It made me realise I knew very little about Queen Victoria, & her life was very interesting.

Next was A Casual Vacancy by JK Rowling. Hmmmm, to be honest if I'd read this book not knowing who wrote it, I probably wouldn't have gone in search of more of their books. It was a good read, definitely very well written, but it didn't really get me in, & I felt it ended suddenly without resolving everything.

Against the Current by Joan Hellegers. I read this book years ago & enjoyed rereading it. It tells the story of Adeline Keating. An incredibly interesting book, Adeline had an amazing life growing up in Bendigo in a prosperous family who lose everything. She travels to Melbourne to work, & ends up travelling the world for Myers, the first female buyer.

31 Bond Street by Ellen Horan is a whodunnit based on a true story. Set in New York four years before the outbreak of the American Civil War this is a real page turner.

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe by Fannie Flagg. I loved the movie & the book was great! The book is set in the 20's, 30's, 40's & 80's, moving backwards & forwards through time very successfully.

The Rector's Wife by Joanna Trollope is one of my all time favourite books. I've read it several times & just find myself drawn back to it every so often. Obviously it is about the Rector's Wife, but rather than being a meek & mild woman, Anna rebels against her role, & the expectations of the church & the community. Her husband is distant & doesn't understand her need to retain an identity for herself. It is so well written, as are all Joanna Trollope books. I just love her work.

Summer of Love by Katie Fforde. I've read a lot of Katie Fforde books, they are lightweight romances set in England. I enjoy them. This one is about Sian moving to the country with her young son Rory to start a new life.

My Life in France by Julia Child. Love, love, love this book. I love the movie Julie & Julia, & this book tells the Julia side of the story. It is just so entertaining, Julia Child led such a fun & interesting life. 

The Vault by Ruth Rendell was a very different Wexford novel as Wexford has retired. In this book he is an advisor to a London Detective Superintendent. The case is a real mystery & keeps you guessing till the end.

Coming Home by Rosamunde Pilcher, a fabulous saga of a book stretching from 1935 till after WW2. This was classic Pilcher, I love her work. A brilliant story very well told. Judith is sent off to boarding school when her mother & sister travel to Ceylon to join her father. She is befriended by a school friend Loveday & taken into her family.

Liz by C. David Heyman. Well they may have made some very tame movies during this time, but the stars led anything but tame lives! I've always loved Elizabeth Taylor but this book proves she would have been a very difficult lady to live with! Mind you, she was an incredible friend to many people & would stand by them through thick & thin. This book covers her life from birth until the 1980's & her last marriage, this time to Larry Fortenski. A good read I really enjoyed it.

The same can't be said for this book, Going Too Far by Catherine Alliot. What a dog of a book. I've read other books by this author & thoroughly enjoyed them but I actually gave up on this one. The main character was a selfish, shallow cow & I wouldn't have cared if she'd fallen under a bus!

I decided to treat myself & read another Marion Keyes book. I've bought them all & I'm rationing them. :-) This one, Angels, is about another of the fabulous Irish Walsh sisters, this time Maggie. With her marriage on the rocks she heads off to stay with a friend in Los Angeles. Lots of fun characters keep you entertained & laughing. I enjoyed it so much I'm rereading Watermelon, Marion's first book & the first novel about the Walsh family. I laugh so much while reading these books. 

Next time I'll blog about some of the work I've been doing to the house, & I'll be sharing 2 lots of exciting news. :-)

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Homemade Gifts

I only made two gifts this past Xmas, a pincushion for dd Emma & a bag for my lovely friend Pinky. I also made a bag for my dear friend Helen's January birthday.

The pincushion pattern is in Annie Downs book 'Some Kind of Wonderful.' 
I handpieced the whole thing. I tried machining the top & base to the embroidered section, but it didn't end well, lol. 

 The base.

I hoped Pinky, a US friend, would like this cute Aboriginal inspired fabric so I made a bag for her out of it. The fabric is much brighter than it looks in the pic.

I got this cute fabric at Spotlight last year. 
I made 2 identical bags, one for me & one for Helen. 
I'd seen a few pleated bags online & I really like them. I didn't have a pattern, so I made one up. I plan to make more pleated bags in different sizes.